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How did you get to be a GU fan/student?

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  • How did you get to be a GU fan/student?

    Just out of curiosity..I'm sure there are stories that are much more interesting than mine, and I'd love to hear some of them.

    I went to school in Sandpoint and frankly, wanted to go to a Catholic University and didn't have a better idea. I was accepted to a few east coast schools (I'm sure because I was from Idaho) but didn't want the travel time/expense...and couldn't afford it at the time. I'm the oldest of 5, my dad wasn't wild about plane tickets to Duke....thank God in heaven I didn't go there. In the end, I met my amazing wife and will cherish my days at GU to the grave. Through a small way, they continue.

    One of my biggest regrets at GU was not taking advantage more thoroughly of the basketball/athletic programs (as a fan, obviously, the only thing I've done with a basketball is break my fingers...repeatedly...I gave it up.) In fact, while I attended some games, it was always as a student/casual/social observer...not a real fan. Only later in life did I realize what a great way it was to connect with fellow alums/local fans in Spokane and the surrounding areas. My wife and I were married by F. Tony, and that connection kept us attached to the school and the basketball program. Since then, my rabid "fanism" has grown to include my extended family, kids, and many many new friends. While y'all are anonymous, I include many of you on that list as well.

    Please...someone has to have come from further, been here for a better reason or have a better family connection to the U.

    Special note to the "old timers" at GU, what are your impressions of the U as it has grown changed and remained the same to its core values?
    How to ride a horse:
    Step One - Mount the horse.
    Step Two - Stay mounted ...

  • #2
    I was interested in Gonzaga because a couple of friends of mine, who were older, attended.

    When my Dad found out I was interested, he was all for it and that was all I needed to here as my Dad's opinion was always golden to me. He had attended GU his freshman year, but then transferred to the U of Montana for Pharmacy school. My uncle played baseball for GU and I have several cousins that attended as well. The Weinand family (Quincy, WA), in case anybody knows any of those folks.

    Once at GU, I competed in XC and Track, so in that respect I became a Bulldog. That really didn't make me the fanatic I am today, though. I still went to the games and all, I just wasn't a nut, yet.

    I think what ultimately started to really spark my fandom is when my friend from back home was recruited to play ball for GU. Some of you might remember him, Felix McGowan. We were buddies from 5th grade through to high school and graduated together. He originally went to Montana State, but had a falling out with the coach after his first year and so he transferred to North Idaho. There he caught the eye of the GU coaching staff and was offered the schollie. Having that personal connection really got me started. Of course, it didn't hurt that that was when they started to turn the corner as a program.

    As I recall, we were in the WCC championship game at least one of the season's Felix played. He also pulled a couple of wins out of his keister for Gonzaga in WCC play with some spectacular offense.

    Anywho, there was no looking back after that and I've just been getting worse (or better, depending on perspective) ever since.


    • #3
      Mine is not incredibly interesting, but I like to share...

      I was a huge college basketball fan when I was in high school, but my favorite team was...Duke. The skeleton is out of the closet! Of course, I wanted to attend Duke because of its reputation, not because of the basketball program. I applied to and was accepted at Duke, but the thought of moving across the country was a little daunting to me (I am from Nampa, ID). Plus, I don't think they offered me enough in the way of scholarships, so I began to explore other options. I was looking hard at Pepperdine and even UC Berkeley, but then one day, a recruiter from Gonzaga came to my high school. I met with him and was impressed with what the school had to offer. And it was both far and close enough to my parents--far enough to do my own thing (and not be caught) yet close enough for me to go home fairly often. My school counselor was really jazzed about my interest in Gonzaga for some reason, and sent off my application without my essay. I was still accepted, I have no idea how that happened. Maybe my reputation preceded me. Ha.

      I only remember going to a handful of games in the Kennel, I was usually too distracted by other "social engagements" to attend. Only recently did I realize that Steve Nash attended Santa Clara the same years I was at GU. I had friends that played lacrosse and rugby, and I actually lived with two soccer players my freshman year, but sports where on the periphery for me at that time.

      If I remember correctly, I became the rabid GU basketball fan that I am today during the Elite 8 run in 99. I remember watching the games at work, just so excited that my little alma mater was creating such a huge stir. Now college basketball season is my favorite time of the year!


      • #4
        Don't have time to post my story, but I just wanted to say this is a great thread idea (esp during the offseason)
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        • #5
          Attended one of last summer's basketball camps. Loved the campus and atmosphere, followed the team awhile before that, but fell in lurv with the team after that. Die hard Zag fan.


          • #6
            I lived in Ohio and had lived there all 18 years of my life. First and foremost, I wanted a change. I had been following Gonzaga basketball avidly for a while and began to look further into the school. It had exactly what I wanted--small class sizes, good History/Poly Sci program, an involved community, no sororities/fraternities, and of course, the basketball team.

            The only problem was that my parents didn't want me to go all the way across the nation. I fought like hell to convince them all through high school to no avail. They wanted me close to home, and there wasn't anything I could seemingly do about it. Both my brother and sister went to OU and OSU respectively, and my parents wanted to keep us all close. I can't blame them for it, but sometimes a person just needs a change. Finally, I wrote them a letter. I'm not known for keeping my cool in arguments so I figured a letter would be a good way to get every single thought down. First, I put the financial information out there with Gonzaga compared to Ashland University, which was the best choice I had in Ohio. My parents had always said Gonzaga was too expensive, but low and behold, Gonzaga was cheaper than Ashland after factoring in financial aid.

            I really wish I still had the letter saved, but I don't. After the financial information, I basically went on to say how much even a visit Gonzaga would mean to me. If I didn't like it, I would commit to Ashland. I then went on to say how they don't have to be afraid of me going so far away, and mentioned all the potential positives that would impact my life if I attended Gonzaga. It was a really emotional letter of almost two pages single spaced.

            My parents said they'd think about it, which, of course, I took to mean "no." But about two weeks later, my dad sat me down and told me that he bought plane tickets to Spokane for April 27-29. I was beyond elated. He said that he was making no promises; just because I was visiting didn't mean I could necessarily attend. I agreed. On April 27th, we got to Spokane. It was about 65 degrees, a few clouds in the sky. I took this picture:


            As cliche or stupid as it sounds, I knew Gonzaga was the place for me as soon as I stepped on campus. It was so beautiful and all the people were amazingly nice. When I was walking, I saw so many smiles on the students' faces. I was amazed, to say the least. I tried to downplay my enthusiasm so I didn't disappoint my parents, but I knew they could tell how I felt. On the plane back to Ohio, my dad handed me a piece of paper and told me to write the positives and negatives of both Gonzaga and Ashland. All I came up with were positives for Gonzaga, and I had a few negatives for Ashland. I committed fully to Gonzaga the next day.

            Now that I'm here as a freshman, I haven't regretted a second. I love everything about Gonzaga (ok, maybe not the COG). But this place is just awesome!


            • #7
              MBZags! What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing.
              Gonzaga - The Greatest Student Section in the Nation!


              • #8
                Not as cool as MBZag's story, but...

                I grew up in Wyoming, but wanted to go to school in the Pacific NW - I'd really loved it since my family had taken vactions to Vancouver (B.C.) and the Oregon coast when I was a kid. I applied to a few college up here and my first two choices were Reed (in Portland, in case people don't know it) and GU (in that order). I was accepted to both, but Reed doesn't give scholarships for academics (only need-based) and GU did. Plus, Reed had a bit of a, um, reputation for, um, having a lot of students who use extra-cirricular pharmaceuticals which my parents really really didn't like (though they liked the school overall). Plus, being strongly Catholic, my parents were pretty happy that I might go to a Catholic university. So, I visited, liked it, and committed.

                I didn't really follow bball seriously when I was there (I went to a few games here and there), but 99 was my senior year, so I have all kinds of cool memories of that particular season. I started to get into the team more that year, then have really gotten serious in the years since (it seems like a lot of people here are like me - casual fans while at the school, hardcore fans since. Interesting).


                • #9
                  Next Generation

                  I guess you can tell by my pseudo name that I'm first of all a Coug fan. But I've also always been a Zag fan as well.

                  I had a good friend get me a good deal on season tickets back in the days when the only time GU sold out a game was when Loyola Marymount or another big name school came to play. Between Stockton and Santangelo. I used to take my girls and my son to the games and the girls were more interested in the cheerleaders and the snackbar than the basketball game.

                  But as time went on and they got older that early exposure had an effect. Now they're all well into their 20's (one's a GU alumni now) and now I'm paying list price for my season tickets, but I get a call from one or both of my girls before every game to see it they can go. My son lives out of town, but makes it back specifically for at least one Zag game a year.

                  I've had a lot of great times on those old hardwood benches watching the Zags and my kids grow up. Sorry if that's a little too corny, but that's my Zag story.


                  • #10
                    My story is so much less interesting - primarily because I never really wanted to attend GU in the first place. I was lazy with the college admissions process, which is weird considering how strongly I wanted to go to school back east. When my plans fell through, I found myself a mile away from my high school (Gonzaga Prep). I was always a college basketball nut - UCLA then and UCLA/GU now. But this was before Gonzaga was a household name. Gonzaga wasn't an attractive option at the time - less so because 33 members of my graduating class were enrolling with me, and certainly not for the big-time Division I athletics. I still don't much like Spokane and the Gonzaga experience can still be a very depressing one if you weren't raised in or around a similar environment. Or if you like the sun.

                    At any rate, there are many, many things about GU that I do love. The basketball team has given me so much joy through the years - and an intimate connection with something much bigger than I. And for that, I'm grateful.


                    • #11
                      I grew up at 823 E Sinto which was then about 3 blocks from campus. Between interacting with the students, messing around on campus, and being mesmerized by the photos in "Dutch's" (Blue and White, Irish etc) as a kid, I just always figured I'd go to GU. When I was a HS freshman, we had 4 GU students living with us, as the dorms were overflowing. They convinced me that I could somehow make it. Ironically, one of them was waylaid in his matriculation and we graduated in the same class. I had my SAT scores sent to GU, Ft Lewis (Durango) and Simon Frazer, not sure why the last two, just on a whim I guess. As a Sr in HS, my track coach came up to me one day and told me that if I could get my mile time under 4:30, Eastern would offer. I came down with shinsplints about a day later (for the 4th season in a row), and the rest is History. I also figured that Florence "thing" might be cool too.


                      Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
                      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
                      All mimsy were the borogoves,
                      And the mome raths outgrabe.


                      • #12
                        Mine is as boring as they come... Mom works there so therefor I went to where school was free.

                        But I will say that the years I spent at GU are some of the best in my life.
                        "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

                        "Gonzaga is a special place, with special people!" - Dan Dickau #21

                        Foo me once shame on you, Foo me twice shame on me.

                        2012 Foostrodamus - Foothsayer of Death


                        • #13
                          I entered the Spokane diocesan minor seminary (Mater Cleri in Colbert) when I was 14; I was the only one of my graduating class of 4 that went on to the major seminary, Bishop White. Bishop White is a collaborative effort between the Spokane Diocese and Gonzaga--the seminarians pursue degrees in philosophy and fulfill their pre-theology requirements as admitted Gonzaga students. I left Bishop White mid-way through freshman year, but wanted to stay at Gonzaga, so I became a "regular student" and moved into a dorm room in Madonna, the first year it was a coed dorm.

                          My experience as a fan started when I was about 5 or 6 and my dad took me to see Frank Burgess and the Zags play in the old Spokane Coliseum. I went to nearly every game when I was student; when I was a senior, I was the sports editor of the Bulletin and got to travel with the team to some of the away games, including when GU played UNLV in a tournament in Vegas--the night before we left for Las Vegas, Professor Firkins from the math department gave the team, coaches and everyone else who was interested "gambling lessons."

                          ABC (coach Buoncristiani) was fired in the spring of my senior year, a decision that was not popular with local sportswriters, especially Harry Missildine. Harry bad mouthed Fitz's hire; it pissed Fitz off so the Bulletin (and I) got the exclusive first interview with the new coach.
                          You have to love the Gonzaga fan. Not satisfied to be affronted merely by common hosings at the hands of ragtag referees, he plows all avenues of discontent. - John Blanchette

                          Gonzaga University...Home of the Zags...The Bulldogs. If you pronounce it "Gone Zaw Ga," they'll know you're not from here and they may charge you more for your coffee. - Garrison Keillor


                          • #14
                            Becoming a Zags fan

                            My dad took me to see the Bulldogs and Frank Burgess play when I was very little. I just barely remember it.
                            I have also lived in Spokane a couple of times during my life, and actually took a couple of courses at Gonzaga through a cooperative education program, with Eastern, Wazzu and Gonzaga, that no longer exists, called Sphere.
                            I watched John Stockton play when he was in high school, but did not live in Spokane during his college days.
                            I remember going to the occasional baskeball game, in the Kennel, when you could walk up, just before game time, sit almost anywhere you wanted, and pay almost nothing, for the experience. How times have changed.
                            Angelo, we must be about the same age.
                            “People have an uncanny ability to make me think I am smarter than I really am. Human Beings bring me back to reality.” S.T.


                            • #15

                              I was born in Spokane but grew up in Southern California. One day our high school basketball coach announced that he was leaving our high school to become the head coach for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. His name was Adrian Buoncristiani. I began to follow Gonzaga basketball at that point. I would have to say I actually became a fan when we moved back to Spokane in the late 70's.